Our research staff continues to find that embezzlement is an issue that is still prevalent in practices nationwide. Consequently, we are revisiting this subject to provide additional advice.
Minimize the Risk
More than likely, you’ve heard the horror story about a colleague whose trusted employee embezzled money from his/her practice. To preclude this from happening to you, there are steps that you could take to minimize the risk of embezzlement.
We recommend that the following procedures become a part of your normal routine, as they will help to safeguard you from embezzlement.
- Make it your firm policy that you provide every patient/client with a receipt for cash payments.
- Cash handling and cash record keeping duties need to be segregated. Have one person collect patient/client portions over the counter and another person post balances. Have a third person make the bank deposits. As the owner, you must play an active role in monitoring sales and cash if you have too few employees to fully separate those three duties.
- Each month, compare the amount of cash deposited in the bank to the receipts and/or balances posted in your collections log. There could be some minor fluctuation, of course, but a significant difference for that month is a warning sign and should be investigated.
- Start a simple patient/client sign-in sheet listing patient names and the date signed in. Compare this on a daily basis to an over-the-counter-collections report (and day sheet or equivalent). Look for inconsistencies, such as patients/clients who are on the sign-in sheet but not listed on the day-sheet report. Spot-check by phone call to patients/clients who are reported to not have paid an amount due that day. This can be done as a “quality control” call to the patient/clients. Of the questions asked, one might be something like, “It’s our policy that all patients/clients who pay any cash on the day of service receive a receipt. Did you receive a receipt today for any cash you paid?” Put this policy in writing and IMPLEMENT IT. That will make it far more dangerous to attempt embezzlement.
- Make it a written policy that you conduct unannounced checks of petty cash and other cash accounts on a regular (bi-weekly or monthly) basis. Conduct those checks without fail.
Fill out the form on this page to read steps 6-14, they will provide you with the essential data regarding the proper management of your accounts receivable and other office records (highly recommended).
Read steps 6-14, they will provide you with the essential data regarding the proper management of your accounts receivable and other office records (highly recommended).